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DePaul University names Alexandra Murphy dean of the College of Communication

Murphy has served as the acting and interim dean of the College of Communication since 2018

​​​A longtime DePaul University leader and recognized communication studies scholar who has promoted innovation within the College of Communication has been named the college's next dean. Provost Salma Ghanem announced that Alexandra Murphy will assume the role of dean for DePaul's College of Communication on April 1.

Murphy has served as the acting and interim dean of the College of Communication since 2018. She has also served in several administrative roles at DePaul, including associate dean and director of communication studies in the College of Communication, and director of community service studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Murphy is a St. Vincent de Paul professor and higher education leader who is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration, community service and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Lexa has served DePaul and the College of Communication very effectively since she joined DePaul in 1998, and she demonstrated great leadership as acting and interim dean, particularly during the trying time of the pandemic," Ghanem said. “I am grateful she has accepted the role of dean and I know she will do great things for the college in the years to come."

As interim dean, Murphy proved to be an innovative leader, overseeing the design of the Center for Communication Engagement, which houses the Media Engagement Lab, the Open Learning Project, the Voice Project and the Virtual and Augmented Reality Communication Lab. The center's goal is to promote communication-based problem solving and research-based solutions for social innovation. As director of communication studies in a newly established college and in recognition of the growing understanding of the complexities of communication, Murphy led the development of graduate and undergraduate programs in communication studies, intercultural communication, relational communication and organizational communication.

Also dedicated to DePaul's mission of dignity, justice and service, as acting dean Murphy expanded the role of the diversity advocate to oversee a college-level diversity committee and established a student diversity fellow position. Together, they created the first college-level diversity action plan to turn important DE&I discussions into action-based initiatives. She also created a faculty fellowship program to bring in leading professionals to teach and enhance the focus on diversity in social justice in classes, co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

Earlier in her career at DePaul, Murphy joined an interdisciplinary team to create the community service studies program housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The program is a minor focused on providing students a pathway to taking a series of service-learning courses grounded in foundational theoretical and pragmatic studies. She ultimately became the program's first director.

“The College of Communication is a special place. I have witnessed first-hand the passionate commitment of our faculty and staff to provide a transformational learning experience for our students. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with this talented group and to serve our students in a more permanent position as dean."

A professor of communication studies, Murphy is a recognized scholar in organizational communication and culture. Her research focuses on the risks that can occur in organizational and social contexts when communication practices are taken for granted, reproduced or institutionalized. She has worked on organizational development issues and improving communication among airline crews and medical staff in emergency rooms. She has also worked extensively on public health communication programs for HIV/AIDS education in Kenya, as well as LGBTQ media advocacy in Kenya and Vietnam.

Murphy joined DePaul in 1998 and was inducted in the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Professors in 2011. She received her bachelor's in communication and political science, as well as a master's in communication, from the University of Utah. She holds a doctorate in communication from the University of South Florida. 

Originally published in DePaul Newsroom.​